Photo: Pexels

When choosing a place to settle down and raise a family, many factors come into play: career opportunities, location of family and friends, school districts, outdoor settings, etc. Yet, according to a study by WalletHub, some states are simply better to raise a family than others.

In the study, WalletHub’s data team evaluated and compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 40 key indicators of “family-friendliness”– such as housing affordability, paid family leave, daycare quality, and (uh-oh!) divorce rate.

Read through for the rankings as well as some notable highlights from the study.

10 Best States to Raise a Family

1. North Dakota- Total Score: 65.81 (Ranked #2 in socioeconomics*)

2. New Hampshire- Total Score: 65.59

3. Vermont- Total Score: 65.24 (Ranked #1 in health and safety*)

4. Minnesota- Total Score: 65.22 (Ranked #2 in affordability*)

5. Nebraska- Total Score: 64.18

6. Massachusetts- Total Score: 63.98

7. New Jersey- Total Score: 63.84 (Ranked #1 in education and child care*)

8. Iowa- Total Score: 63.25 (Ranked #1 in affordability)

9. Connecticut- Total Score: 62.93

10. South Dakota- Total Score: 62.70 (Ranked #1 in family fun*)

10 Worst States to Raise a Family:

10. Alabama- Total Score: 44.32

9. West Virginia- Total Score: 44.27 (Ranked #51- in family fun)

8. Georgia- Total Score: 44.13

7. Arizona- Total Score:  43.56

6. Alaska- Total Score:  43.37 (Ranked #50 in health and safety)

5. Nevada- Total Score:  42.39

4. Louisiana- Total Score: 42.00

3. District of Columbia- Total Score: 41.13 (Ranked #51 in socioeconomics)

2. Mississippi- Total Score: 39.85 (Ranked #50 in affordability, family fun)

1. New Mexico- Total Score:  38.58 (Ranked #50 in education/child care, socioeconomics; ranked #51 in affordability)

Notable highlights:

  • The most affordable housing can be found in Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Kansas, whereas homes in Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and DC are the least affordable.
  • The lowest infant mortality rate can be found in California, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, whereas Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma have the highest.
  • The lowest childcare costs can be found in Mississippi and South Dakota, whereas District of Columbia and New York pay the most for child care.
  • Utah, North Dakota, and New Jersey have the lowest divorce rate. District of Columbia, Nevada, and Florida have the highest divorce rate.


  • Family Fun (includes number of attractions, fitness & recreational sports centers per capita, and average commute time)
  • Health & Safety (includes quality of public hospitals, infant mortality rate, water and air quality)
  • Education & Child Care (includes public high school graduation rate, child-care costs, and parental leave)
  • Affordability (includes housing affordability, median credit score, median family annual income, and employer-based retirement plans)
  • Socioeconomics (includes separation and divorce rate, share of families receiving food stamps, paid family leave, and job security)

Scroll over to see where your state ranked.